The Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Armstrong Idachaba, has defended the controversial amendments to Nigeria’s broadcasting code which, among others, bans exclusive content on Pay TV.

Mr Idachaba also alleged that Iroko TV, a web platform that provides paid-for Nigerian films on-demand, has not invested in Nigeria despite the revenue it generates from local contents.

He claimed the TV only sucks profit out of Nigeria to take abroad.

That claim, and another made by Mr Idachaba, has been refuted by the Iroko TV owner who described it as totally false.

Mr Idachaba said these while discussing the newly amended NBC code with Osasu Igninedion on a Web TV show, The Osasu Show.

“The involvement they do is an artistic investment that allows them to take cultural artistic materials, original to the Nigerian people, and export, maximise the profit, suck it out of Nigeria and still take abroad. Is that not injustice to the Nigerian society?” he said of Iroko TV

“I saw one of their titles, Son of Caliphate, typical Northern Nigeria Sokoto story, original to the Zamfara people, then you harness it, you put in beautiful costumes and lights, you put in all the attractive aesthetics, it becomes highly valuable and then you send it across the world.

“The local Zamfara boy whose grandfathers were the original creators and owners of the story, don’t ever get to see the story in their lifetime. Does it make sense to you? How do you build a cultural environment that way? How do you build your own history?

“So we need to have a conscious policy that would lead us to develop our culture and our own creative community. Don’t be blackmailed by all the stories.

“The money they are spending to fight this code, ordinarily, they wouldn’t have spent even on one local artist. They would say it is not available. But now they have so much to buy editors, to write newspaper stories on account of a policy that we are convinced is good for our own country.”

“Buying editors” to fight the NBC code

Mr Idachaba also alleged that the TV and other players in the broadcast industry opposed to the code have been buying editors and newspapers to fight the new code and blackmail Nigerians into believing the code is bad for the country.

He said Iroko TV particularly had been spending to fight this code.

“Ordinarily, they wouldn’t have spent even on one local artist.”

In his response to a PREMIUM TIMES question on the allegations, the Chief Executive Officer, IRokoTV, Jason Njoku, said “I’m sure without having to explain you are aware that is 1,000% untrue. Perhaps you ask around the industry.”

The New code

Since its amendment, the code has stirred up controversy in the industry with many stakeholders kicking against it, tagging it a means of subsidising inefficiency in the industry.

Reacting to the new code, Mr Njoku, on his Twitter handle said the new law, if implemented, will destroy PayTV in Nigeria.

He also said that NBC in compelling sub-licensing of content and regulating price, would effectively turn a private enterprise into state property.

“Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) In making exclusivity illegal, compelling sub-licensing of content & regulating price, are effectively turning private enterprise into state property. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾. Interference Distorts Markets. If implemented this 100% destroys PayTV in Nigeria.

“This our champagne socialism & zero input style of policymaking is the reason Nigeria is stunted in everything. I invest billions Naira in content then I am compelled to share with everyone else as NBC sets the price 🤷🏾‍♂️Why? Dark forces or incompetence is at play here. Ridiculous,” he tweeted.

Also,speaking with Channels Television on its breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Tonnie Iredia, said the code is not a standard document for the regulation of broadcasting in Nigeria.

Mr. Iredia, a Professor of Broadcast Management and Media Law, said the code is aimed at stopping people from having a say, and pushing fears into the minds of practitioners.

He also said the stakeholders were not properly consulted.

“For the first time in the history of broadcasting in this country, the code was not done the way it used to be done. This time around, NBC just rolled out a number of things it felt should be in the code and and did not hold consultations with the stakeholders as the previous managers of the systems did. You first of all hold consultation, everybody will look at it, there will be a document, you will bring it out at the tail end, there will still be another kind of peer review and all kinds of things.

“Just as I said at the beginning, the code was supposed to be a professional guide. It was supposed to be a masterpiece that promotes professional excellence in broadcasting. But now, it is filled with sanctions of what you will do and not do.


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